I've been carrying around part of McSweeney's issue #22 in my bag since S.L. gave it to me for my birthday. The whole issue is pretty fantastic, it's three books all with magnetic spines that go into one book case with a magnetic spine- so you can pull the separate sections out and carry them around in your bag like I've been doing. The section I'm stuck on is the poets one in which one poem from a poet was picked and then they asked that poet to pick a poem of their own and one by another poet, who then did the same, and then again, and again adding up to about 200 pages of poems. Besides being jammed full of some pretty great poets, I love the chain idea, and how the poets than sort of decided the direction of the entire book really. I'm stuck on a few of the poets I keep reading over and over. Brenda Shaughnessy is one of them, she has a fantastic poem in the book called, I'm Over the Moon, I found some others online that you can read here. I wasn't going to re-type the one that appears in McSweeney's, but I like it so much more than the others I'm finding, so I'll post it below (hope that's OK). I so far I like all I've read of her and by her, and she offers up the best reason I've ever heard for liking the word moist (which has been on the top of my list of most hated words for a while now) "I like words that sound dirty but aren't, words like moist." You can listen to her read her poem, A Good Dress, here.
I'm Over The Moon
I don't like what the moon is supposed to do.
Confuse me, ovulate me,
spoon-feed me longing. A kind of ancient
date-rape drug. So I'll howl at you, moon,
I'm angry. I'll take back the night. Using me to
swoon at your questionable light,
you had me chasing you,
the world's worst lover, over and over
hoping for a mirror, a whisper, insight.
But you disappear for nights on end
with all my erotic mysteries
and my entire unconscious mind.
How long do I try to get water from a stone?
It's like having a bad boyfriend in a good band.
Better off alone. I'm going to write hard
and fast into you moon, face-fucking.
Something you wouldn't understand.
You with no swampy sexual
promise but what we glue to you.
That's not real. You have no begging
cunt. No panties ripped off and the crotch
sucked. No lacerating spasms
sending electrical sparks through the toes.
Stars have those.
What do you have? You're a tool, moon.
Now, noon. There's a hero.
The obvious sun, no bullshit, the enemy
of poets and lovers, sleepers and creatures.
But my lovers have never been able to read
my mind. I've had to learn to be direct.
It's hard to learn that, hard to do.
The sun is worth ten of you.
You don't hold a candle
to that complexity, that solid craze.
Like an animal carcass on the road at night,
picked at by crows,
haunting walkers and drivers. Your face
regularly sliced up by the moving
frames of car windows. Your light is drawn,
quartered, your dreams are stolen.
You change shape and turn away,
letting night solve all night's problems alone.